Have you ever wondered what you would get if you crossed a tiny white fluffball of a Maltese with a large, imposing German Shepherd? While it may seem like an unlikely pairing, the Maltese German Shepherd mix, also known as the Sheptese, is growing in popularity among dog lovers.
This cute crossbreed combines the best traits of both parent breeds, resulting in a loyal, intelligent companion that thrives when given proper care and attention. Read on to learn more about this one-of-a-kind hybrid dog.
An Overview of the Sheptese
The Sheptese is a first generation cross between a purebred Maltese and a purebred German Shepherd. It likely originated in the United States sometime within the last 20-30 years as people began intentionally crossing purebred dogs.
While the origins are murky, the allure of blending the compact and spunky Maltese with the athletic and hardworking German Shepherd proved irresistible to some breeders and puppy buyers.
Some quick facts about the Sheptese:
- Size: 7-18 inches tall, 7-35 lbs
- Coat: Can be long and silky or medium length and thick
- Color: Usually tan and black like the German Shepherd, sometimes white
- Lifespan: 10-12 years
- Temperament: Affectionate, playful, intelligent, loyal
Since the Sheptese is a crossbreed, there’s no breed standard for these dogs. Puppies can vary quite a bit depending on which parent breed is more dominant.
Generally, these little dogs embody the best qualities of both the Maltese and German Shepherd. They make devoted companions for individuals and families who can meet their needs.
The Appearance of a Sheptese Can Vary
The Sheptese is a mixed breed, so there’s no set formula for what they will look like. Some may take after the tiny Maltese parent while others will have the size and coloring of a mini German Shepherd.
Most Shepteses have the signature black and tan coloring of the German Shepherd. They may also have some white markings. Their fur can be long and silky like a Maltese or shorter and dense like a Shepherd.
Here are some of the physical characteristics you might see in a Sheptese:
- Head: Round dome like the Maltese or more wedge-shaped like the Shepherd
- Ears: Floppy or erect
- Body: Compact, between 7-18 inches tall
- Tail: Curled like the Maltese or long like the Shepherd
- Coat: Can be long or medium length, dense or silky
Their petite size makes them perfect for apartment living. Expect your Sheptese to be an energetic and lively companion.
|Size||7-18 inches tall|
|Coat||Long or medium length|
|Color||Black, tan, white|
|Ears||Floppy or erect|
|Tail||Curled or long|
While a Sheptese is small, you’ll be amazed by this little dog’s huge personality! Their zest for life is infectious.
Inside the Mind of a Sheptese
Now that you know what a Sheptese looks like on the outside, you’re probably wondering about their personality. This dog takes the best traits from both parent breeds.
The Maltese is known for being affectionate, gentle and eager to please. German Shepherds are loyal, intelligent, and protective.
By combining these two purebreds, Sheptese breeders hoped to create smart and loving companions. For the most part, they’ve succeeded!
Shepteses form strong bonds with their families. They crave human interaction and don’t like to be left alone for long periods. This dog will follow you from room to room just to be near you.
Despite their small size, Shepteses are alert watchdogs. They will let you know when someone is at the door or if they hear strange noises at night. Early socialization helps ensure they don’t become overly defensive.
These dogs are fairly friendly with strangers once properly introduced. Consistent training is key to nurturing their natural intelligence and eagerness to work.
You can count on having an obedient dog who masters basic commands and tricks with ease. Keep training fun and positive to bring out their inner star pupil.
Caring for a Sheptese Dog: Exercise, Grooming, and Health
While adorable, the Sheptese is not necessarily a low maintenance breed. Their exercise needs, grooming requirements, and health concerns should be considered before getting one of these hybrid pups.
Keeping a Sheptese Active and Fit
Shepteses have lively spirits and need at least 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. They’ll enjoy going for leashed walks, playing fetch at the park, or joining you for a jog.
Mental stimulation through obedience training, puzzle toys and games also helps keep them fulfilled. Without adequate activity, these dogs are prone to developing unwanted behaviors from boredom.
Aside from daily exercise, Shepteses should have access to a secure, fenced-in backyard where they can play. Just don’t leave them unsupervised as their Maltese heritage means they will eagerly chase birds and other critters!
Grooming Needs of the Sheptese
Grooming needs range from moderate to high depending on the coat type. Long-haired Shepteses require daily brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles. Visits to a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks are a must.
Shepteses with a shorter double coat need weekly brushing along with regular bathing and shedding-control. All dogs should have their nails trimmed regularly. Be sure to brush their teeth often and check their floppy ears for signs of infection.
Major Health Issues Facing Shepteses
While generally healthy, Shepteses are prone to certain conditions including:
- Patellar Luxation – dislocated kneecaps, usually manageable with supportive care
- Eye Issues – cataracts, dry eye, progressive retinal atrophy
- Hip Dysplasia – malformed hip sockets, can lead to arthritis
- Heart Conditions – mitral valve disease, patent ductus arteriosus
Reputable breeders screen for these issues before breeding. Limit jumping, use ramps, and maintain a healthy weight to reduce orthopedic problems.
Shepteses have a lifespan of 10-12 years when properly cared for. Schedule annual vet checkups and stay up to date on all preventative care to help your dog live their best life!
Finding and Raising a Sheptese Puppy
Excited to welcome one of these rare designer dogs home? Here’s what to know about finding and raising a Sheptese puppy.
Choosing an Ethical Breeder
With any mixed breed dog, it’s essential to find a responsible breeder who health tests their breeding stock. Ask to see proof of health clearances for both parent breeds.
Avoid puppy mills, pet stores, or breeders who can’t provide documentation. Be prepared to spend $500-$1500 for a Sheptese from a reputable source.
Once you locate some breeders, ask lots of questions before making a decision. A good breeder will welcome your curiosity and take the time to get to know you.
Visit the facility in person and meet at least one parent dog if possible. This will give you insight into the conditions your puppy is coming from.
Caring for a Sheptese Puppy
Bringing home an 8-12 week old Sheptese puppy is incredibly rewarding, but also a big responsibility. Be prepared for sleepless nights and diligent house training!
Puppy-proof your home by removing choking hazards and restricting access to rooms or levels. Establish a daily routine including several potty breaks, play time, training sessions, and enforced naps.
Start socialization early by gently exposing your Sheptese to new people, places and situations. Sign up for a puppy kindergarten class for essential skills. Veterinarian visits, deworming and vaccinations will ensure your puppy stays healthy.
With plenty of love and patience, you’ll guide your Sheptese puppy to adulthood in no time. The effort is well worth it!
Frequently Asked Questions About the Sheptese
Before deciding if a Sheptese is right for you, browse some common questions about this hybrid dog.
Are Shepteses good family dogs?
Yes! Shepteses are affectionate and gentle, making them great family companions. However, their small size means they’re better suited for families with older, gentle kids. Always supervise young children with any dog.
How big do Shepteses get?
Shepteses range from 7-18 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 7-35 pounds fully grown. Their petite size makes them an excellent choice for city dwellers.
Do Shepteses bark a lot?
Shepteses are somewhat vocal dogs. While they don’t bark excessively, their watchdog nature means they will alert you to anything unusual. Training from a young age helps curb nuisance barking.
Are Shepteses easy to train?
Yes, Shepteses are highly intelligent and take well to training. Use positive reinforcement methods starting at a young age. Their eagerness to please makes them fast learners.
Do Shepteses get along with cats?
Socialization can help a Sheptese accept cats, but their high prey drive means they may still try to chase or harass them. It’s best not to leave a Sheptese unsupervised around cats.
Is the Sheptese the Dog For You?
From their cute looks to their big personalities, the Sheptese has a lot of fans. This crossbreed blends some of the best qualities of the Maltese and German Shepherd breeds.
For experienced owners willing to meet their needs, the loyal and lively Sheptese can be a perfect companion. Just be prepared for an energetic dog with moderate grooming requirements.
Finding a healthy Sheptese puppy from responsible breeders is key, as is proper training and socialization from a young age. Do your research to determine if this unique hybrid will fit your lifestyle.